May 24, 2012

What is OverDrive? (Audiobooks, E-books & more)

Apparently we don't even need to go to the library anymore. Free audiobooks and e-books from home? Yes, please.

You know how much I love audiobooks and I was looking forward to joining Audible, when my librarian mentioned Overdrive. So, what is it? From the site:

OverDrive is a leading full-service digital distributor of eBooks, audiobooks, and other digital content. We deliver secure management, DRM protection, and download fulfillment services for publishers, libraries, schools, and retailers--serving millions of end users globally.

Our support for iPod®, iPhone®, iPad™, Android™, Sony® Reader, Kindle® (US libraries only), and thousands of other mobile devices, makes our library platform the most compatible library download service. We also offer the largest collection of premium audiobooks, eBooks, music, and video for the library – all available on a single website for browsing, checking out, and downloading.

A peek at my wishlist:

Okay, I am by no means and expert, in fact I still need to figure quite a few things out, but I have already downloaded and listened to 5 audiobooks and read some rented books on kindle. I'm not sure how similar the selection of titles is for different states or areas but if you head to the main site and enter your zip code it'll probably take you from there.

  • Unlike other audiobook/ebook rentals this is through public libraries so it is FREE, of course.
  • You need to download the OverDrive Media Console. 
  • There is an OverDrive app, but many titles are not available from there. You can still use your device though, just use console and then transfer. 
  • Many e-books can go directly to your Kindle or Kindle app and you can use your Adobe Reader.
  • You can place holds on popular titles.
Issues I've encountered:
  • There is a maximum amount of items allowed at a time. In my case it's 5 titles, no matter the format.
  • My main issue with it so far is that there is no way to return some titles. So, if you already borrowed 5 for 14 days, for example, and you're done listening to all in 7 days, you must still wait til they expire. (There are some exceptions).
  • If you place holds, you must leave room (from the X titles allowed) for when your hold is ready. Once they email you about the title's availability you only have 2 days to checkout or you lose your hold(remember: no returns)

I hope this helps some of you get access to free books in a different, modern and convenient way. They have a super updated collection, including in YA!  The only thing you need is a Library Card number from a library that offers this service, which many libraries now do.


  1. I was wondering if you knew if we can only download from our own public library?

  2. Thanks for mentioning this! I'm going to take a closer look at it :D

  3. If you check out ebooks rather than audiobooks, you can return them early. Just so you know! I love that we offer this service as libraries, it's a great way to expand collections.

  4. I hadn't heard about this before, but it turns out my library has a huge collection of audio and ebooks just waiting for me! Thanks for spreading the word about Overdrive!

  5. @Jenn You can download from home or anywhere! :)

  6. My biggest issue with Overdrive lately is that my titles will not transfer onto my iPhone. I never used to have a problem with it but then I upgraded to the new Apple OS and all of a sudden the titles wouldn't load. Overdrive tech support wasn't any help either. That was quite a few months ago and I haven't tried another title since so maybe they've fixed the bugs since then.

  7. I'm so happy you told me about this! :) I just downloaded my first audiobook yesterday! I'm so excited.

  8. You can download from any library that 1. You have a card for and 2. Has an account with Overdrive. Not all libraries do.

    The limit on how many books, how long you can check them out and how long you have to check out a hold item varies by library. For example, my library allows 20 ebooks, for 7, 14 or 21 days and they give you 3 days notice to check out a hold.

    The book selection also varies by library. A lot of people look for the best possible library and just obtain a card. Some libraries will allow you to obtain a card through the mail for a few even if you live in another state.

    It's a great service! I've been using it for about two years now.

  9. Another helpful tip is that most library systems have reciprocal agreements. For example if you live in Ohio you can go into any Ohio public library and get a card. Same is true with most states. That means if your library system doesn't have overdrive don't be discouraged, there may be a system nearby that has it. Overdrive seems to have the public library market covered, but there are other companies that provide e-books and audio books to public library. When in doubt go to your library to see what their digital collection is.

  10. Thank you Amy and Lisa for adding such helpful info! :)


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